Sporting Kansas City's Under-15 and Under-17 sides each opened their Generation adidas Cup qualifying campaigns at Swope Soccer Village this past weekend - with the U-15s going an unbeaten 1-0-2 and the U-17s posting a 0-2-1 mark.
The U-15s head into the second stage of GA Cup qualifying at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. this coming February locked in a tie for first place in Group B alongside the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC. Head coach Chris O'Neal's side topped the LA Galaxy 1-0 to open qualifying on Friday, before beating both the Seattle Sounders and the San Jose Earthquakes on penalties following 2-2 and 1-1 draws on Saturday and Monday, respectively.
"It was a good game from both groups," O'Neal said following Monday's shootout win over San Jose. "I think they tried to play, they did a job breaking us down through the middle and finding gaps but we did a good job of reading that and not really giving them too many clear-cut opportunities. We created good chances but we have to be a little bit more ruthless and finishing those moments.”
"The tournament being here in Kansas City is a good opportunity for us to be able to sleep in our own beds, get in our own routine and then also perform in front of a home crowd," O'Neal said. "So many people put so much into these kids and performing in front of them at home is really cool."
"The games were at a good level but the best part is that once they come off the field, they're getting congratulated by the guys who work at the facility, the groundkeepers, the nutrition staff and even the cleaning lady. Everyone is supporting them. That’s a unique and really cool experience for them. It was a really great event.”
Sporting's U-15s and U-17s will resume GA Cup qualifying early in 2020 with games against Minnesota United FC (Feb. 14) and Chicago Fire (Feb. 15) before facing a yet to be determined opponent on Feb. 17 in California. All box scores from this weekend's event at Swope Soccer Village can be found at SportingKC.com/GA-Cup.